I took part in an interesting exercise last week. It was all about examining the stories we tell about ourselves; the stories we tell ourselves are so. And how these stories may or may not be empowering us, and are keeping us stuck in a place because we’ve outgrown them.
It’s interesting because some of the stories I tell about myself are so deep-seated that I feel that they define me; that’s who I am. And the thing is that when we take a look at the stories we live by, sometimes we realise that they don’t allow room for improvement or growth, and although they may be beneficial in some ways (“I can’t fail”, so you work really hard and put in the necessary time and effort), they can be detrimental in others (“I can’t fail”, so you can’t let go, so you stay in a place that may be making you miserable, and day by day things get worse). Context always needs to be considered.
My stories all revolve around perfectionism, hard work, success and not letting people down, and this means that I can’t let go of people or things that I’ve outgrown, that failing at a relationship is tantamount to failing as a human being, and that not having an amazing life, or a defined and awesome purpose (right now, mind you), means that I’m not trying hard enough and that I’m not ambitious enough.
Pretty harsh, right? Not something you’d say to your kid? And that’s how I’ve decided to treat myself – as I would my own child. No harsh definitives and no limiting internal dialogue that makes me hang-in when the going gets so tough that the cons far outweigh the pros.
It’s all about how you word your story anyhow. “I must succeed” becomes “I’m successful no matter what happens or what I have to let go of”. Or “I must find my purpose” becomes “I will create my purpose”.
It’s amazing what a little rewording will do!